Winter 2012 – Week 3 Anime Review

This week: Yukiteru’s faces in Mirai Nikki, problems with the horror in Another, and interesting background characters in Persona 4 and Mouretsu Pirates.

One bit of news before I begin is that I’m going to delay watching Symphogear for now.  I haven’t given up on the series yet, so I’m going to keep an eye on it but I won’t watch it weekly like I am with every other anime.  The reason for delaying Symphogear is largely because I really haven’t enjoyed the series at all given the characters, plot, and setting so far.  I’m going to wait and see how the series progresses from here on out and then decide if I want to watch this anime or simply drop it altogether.  So, for the next few weeks, you probably won’t see Symphogear here.

And now onto this past week of anime.
Another (Episode 2) – Okay Another, I’m going to voice a problem with your style of ‘horror’.  Rather, it’s not really ‘horror’ if we you never tell us anything.  You keep building up to these moments where we’re about to learn something that makes this town frightening or disturbing and then just stop.  That doesn’t generate fear or create horror, it’s just an annoying tease.  What’s even worse is if the teasing doesn’t back up the tension it’s trying to create essentially blowing the whole thing out of proportion or making these teases seem ridiculous.  It’s going to be bad if we start to see these kids dying before understanding what everyone’s problem is.  We need to know a bit of what’s going on to accept the horror of this anime or else they will just seem like unfortunate accidents rather than a ‘curse’ or some other horror cliché.

Brave 10 (Episode 3) – In order for a samurai anime to be a good samurai anime, it needs to use blood properly.  Not too much and not too little.  Needs to be symbolic of damage being dealt and not something gratuitous or meaningless.  There needs to be work done for blood to come out.  And it can’t simply vanish or disappear either.  Considering those four aspects, Brave10 does a pretty respectable job with its bloodshed with this episode being the best example.  Certainly it isn’t perfect and these conditions are on my preference alone but I doubt there are any serious complaints about the way the blood is used in this anime.  Probably my favorite part was seeing Isanami bleed when she was hit across the face with that kusarigama.  You never see heroines attack, let alone bleed in anime; they usually are reserved for roles of being captured, rescued and acting cute.  Really helps put Isanami on a higher level seeing her go through these trials and abuse.  Also was really happy to see the blood on the ground stay there for a few shots after Kamanosuke was slashed by Saizo.  Hopefully the use of blood remains at about this consistency and quality throughout the series because it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite aspects of this anime.

Chihayafuru (Episode 15) – Now that we’re in a gap between tournaments, why not start on some character development for each of the cast members?  I can imagine seeing an episode devoted to each of the three lesser club members, Kanade, Tsutomu, and Nishida and a couple spent on Taichi and Chihaya and Chihaya’s family before reaching the next tournament.  But isn’t that kinda predictable?  Won’t that break the flow of the series?  You can tell I’m slightly concerned about what the anime will do between tournaments besides repeated episodes of training and character development.  Chihayafuru has handled virtually everything flawlessly so far, so I’m not sure why I’m worrying but I am.  I just hope that these next few episodes before the final tournament hold the same charm and excitement as these past few tournament episodes have had.

Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 15) – Is it bad my favorite quality of our protagonist are all the crazy faces he makes throughout the anime?  Literally, I love seeing Yukiteru’s face whenever something happens because it’s always so detailed, emotional, and overdramatic.  You hardly see this with anyone else, Minene being the only one who comes to mind and she’s nowhere near Yukiteru’s level.  I do feel bad for Yukiteru in these situations though because he becomes so overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, despair, and everything in between.  His brain literally overloads during these scenes.  He lacks any composure and always freaks out.  And I love it, at least when we see these emotions so vividly on the screen.

Mouretsu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates) (Episode 3) – Despite having an insta-flood of schoolgirls in Mouretsu Pirates, there’s one member of the Space Yacht Club that always seems to stand out front and center among the thirteen of them.  Ursula Abramov was introduced to us in the previous episode as the one girl who couldn’t fly properly in zero gravity, falling up the central shaft of the spacecraft.  Since then she’s been shown quite frequently.  During group shots, Ursula is placed in the center or around the main characters.  When girls are placed in the backgrounds of shots, Ursula is often there or, if not in that specific shot, one of them in that scene.  And when looking over the list of names on the screen of the crew that did the spacewalk, Ursula was first among the schoolgirls.  Someone high up must really like Ursula, perhaps for her looks, her happy and active personality, her brief comical scene, or some combination of those three, which accounts for her number of appearances.  Let’s see if this popularity for Ursula continues whenever we see the Space Yacht Club.

Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 15) – For an anime-only character, Aika is sure used quite frequently, even appearing when the anime takes a trip to the setting of Persona 3.  It is rather strange to see an anime so dedicated to the original work have a character who was never in it be featured to the extent she is.  Don’t get me wrong, Aika is one of my favorite characters in the anime simply due to her comedy and appearance, but I just find her placement strange given how everything else is incredibly accurate to the game and shows signs of obvious effort and careful planning.  Hell, she’s been featured more than any of the social links I think.  I suppose her purpose was to give a human representative of the Chinese Diner Aiya but she’s surpassed that and is frequently used in comedy, especially her delivery gags.  Maybe someone planning this anime had a crush on Naoto (who can blame them?) and wanted to have someone with a soft voice and short, blue hair to be featured frequently in the beginning?  Be fun to figure out why they made Aika for the anime and show her as often as they do.

Rinne no Lagrange (Episode 3) – Madoka is such a thoughtful (and stupid) person.  In the heat of battle with an experienced and skillful mecha fighter, Madoka seemed to only be concerned with preventing all damage possible to the city she loves.  Even during her hand-to-hand combat with the other mecha in the urban setting, she did her best to avoid damaging homes and businesses whenever possible.  She went out of her way to make sure the nearby pedestrians did not turn into causalities.  And she did this all with her happy-go-lucky (and stupid) attitude, complete with awful singing and her trademark “Maru!”.  That’s what makes Madoka my favorite.  It’s a relief to see someone show concern and help prevent damage to the city they love.  Most mecha anime would have wanton destruction of the city without as much as a thought to what buildings or whose lives were now gone.  Got to hand it to Rinne no Lagrange, it is becoming quite the mecha anime in a positive way.

Thermae Romae (Episodes 3+4) – Lucius is a genius.  And by genius, I don’t mean simply copying modern Japanese bathing features for utilization in ancient Rome but rather he’s observant and resourceful.  Think about it for a minute.  While on his inexplicable trips through time and space, he is able to quickly recognize, analyze, and comprehend inventions and technology that are not only foreign in design but in concept, too.  Take the wash cloth for example as something of another design.  He’s seen people pour olive oil and sand over their bodies and use a scrap to be clean but never a durable cloth used for such a purpose.  And the covers over the bath are an example of a different concept.  No one in the ancient world thought to cover their baths with insulating material to keep the water from cooling quickly and rendering the water useless.  Both of these are ideas that Lucius saw and immediately recognized their usefulness.  And let’s not forget his resourcefulness either; he is able to take these ideas and find alternatives for use in Rome.  He designs, constructs, and modified all these inventions himself with the resources available and does a pretty fine job given his situation.  Though these concepts are not from Lucius himself, he is no less a genius since he is able to modify and construct everything given much less understanding, education, and resources.  He may not be a creative genius but he is insightful and clever and able to bring these strange, new ideas to reality.


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  1. #1 by Detetiv on January 22, 2012 - 9:47 PM

    Yay Detective [blah I can’t say what I wanted to say or that would be a spoiler cause i don’t know if the gang finds out yet] shows up again~ I really need to catch up.

    • #2 by avvesione on January 23, 2012 - 12:11 AM

      I’m guessing Naoto?

      • #3 by Detetiv on January 23, 2012 - 1:51 AM

        yep that person~ [Oh Music from Another is out now, btw do you want me to tweet the link to you?]

        • #4 by avvesione on January 23, 2012 - 1:59 AM

          Yeah, Naoto is a pretty awesome character. She’s one of my favorites.

          As for the link, I don’t need it, but thanks for the update and offer to share. I appreciate it.

  2. #5 by Zammael on January 22, 2012 - 10:44 PM

    Indeed, many shows did improve on this week (although I don’t follow Persona & I dropped BRAVE10) especially Mirai Nikki with episode 15. That alone went through 3 manga chapters without sacrificing anything. Was pleasantly surprised at the “apprentice” Diary holders’ true identity, but I’m sure we all knew right away who that nurse was when she walked in.

    Good call on the expressions. Yuno is also subject to some of the greatest expressions — her Yandere expression at the end of episode 1 is already a meme these days!

    Lagrange’s beautiful art/animation is pleasant, and the cheerful MC is a refreshing break from the angsty-type or the Yuji-loser we’ve been subject to lately. I’m satisfied with the 3rd episode’s brisk pace, & reset that sets up the next story arc.

    Chihayafuru is fast moving up my all-time list of anime, no question. This setback will rejuvenate Chihaya, and hopefully Arata will actually face them sooner or later in a match.

    I may have more to say about the concept of genius regarding Thermae Romae, because that concept is a recent one and an artificial one born of the Romantic era in the late 18th and early 19th century. If you look at the biographies of the geniuses like Newton or Kant, they largely did not arrive at amazing insights ex nihilo, or independent of all antecedent influences. It is a matter of packaging and timing as well as insight. So Lucius’ genius has more to do with being the first in history to come up with such inventions, rather than being the creative god we think our artists or thinkers are.

    • #6 by avvesione on January 23, 2012 - 12:23 AM

      Yeah, when the nurse walked in, I thought “boy, this voice sure sounds familiar.” Yuno’s expressions have been great, too, but after seeing Yuki’s face do this about three times this episode, I had to write about it. If I were to write more, you be I’d include Yuno in there, too, since you can see the insanity.

      Rinne no Lagrange has been the biggest surprise of the season for me and is my third favorite new show of the season (behind Nisemonogatari and Mouretsu Pirates). This has to be the best XEBEC TV anime I’ve ever seen given it’s art, animation, characters, setting, story, and just about everything else you could imagine. This series has blown me away with its first three episodes but I’m expecting a drop off now that the introduction arc is over. Guess we’ll see…

      Can’t wait to see what happens next in Chihayafuru and how everyone improves between now and the next tournament. I do hope my worries are just me misreading and never come to be true.

      Also, well said on Thermae Romae at the end. Glad to read your thoughts on the matter and see you agree with me on Lucius. It’s kinda sad it’ll be over next week but there is a live-action movie coming out soon. Wonder how different it will be compared to this anime…

  3. #7 by tsurugiarashix on January 23, 2012 - 4:41 PM

    Rinne no Lagrange is turning out surprisingly well, but something tells me that the upcoming Summer season sequel will be its undoing depending on how this season pans out. Well, I am glad the animation and artwork from both the parent studios (Production I.G is the brother (subsidiary) studio to Xebec, which is also doing animation for the show).

    Mouretsu Pirates, erm still needs time to flesh out the exposition, but it is one of my favorites as well (would say 2nd) and making fair progress. Not turning into a complete mess (yet) as I thought it would. The animation for that is not bad either.

    Another, now that I had time to view the manga is just having execution problems. The horror elements is not the biggest one, but the atmosphere is just not right as I felt from the second episode. Would try to reclassify this as mystery, but that would not work as well.

    Chihayafuru has been well so far, but like you I wonder what is up now. More training and what not is going to get old, but they are near the finishing line for the series. Not there yet, but close.

    Persona 4, not sure what the deal for Aika is, but I guess they wanted a gag character in the series. Wish they put into the video game as well, but a just only anime character is fine. As for Naoto, if you look up Romi Paku and “most” of the roles she does for various other series in relation to Naoto, then it will be slightly clear (people that already played the PS2 version already get the association).

    • #8 by avvesione on January 23, 2012 - 10:15 PM

      Really happy with how Lagrange has turned out but I’m expecting a drop off now with this intro arc over and spending time introducing the characters again and doing training and stuff. Still, I’m really happy with what it’s doing. Same with Mouretsu but for different reasons. The attention to detail and it’s carefully build setting are what make the anime amazing. Yeah, there’s been minimal action and plot but it’ll be 26 episodes so there’s plenty of that left to be had.

      Yeah, after watching the third episode, I feel that the horror isn’t the best tag for it but it’s a good one. I still feel like it’s a mystery first, horror second. But if you’ve read the manga and don’t think so, maybe the anime will start to change.

      I think all that’s mainly left with Chihaya is the final tournement and then a match with Wataya and a conclusion and that should take around 6-7 episodes meaning we’ve got some time before the finale. Should be interesting to see what happens tomorrow in the next episode and the few that follow after that.

      Oh, and the last part on Aika/Naoto, I was thinking that some producer wanted to have Naoto much earlier in the series but couldn’t because of the story. So, what they ended up doing was creating a new, anime only character, one who kinda looked like Naoto with a quiet voice/personality but reworked for comedy purposes only. Probably isn’t the case but that’s the best I can think of.

      • #9 by tsurugiarashix on January 24, 2012 - 11:43 AM

        Well, now that you mentioned it, the character introduction will take while along with the info dumping. Hopefully, that will be done throughout the course of the show rather than one setting. Almost for forgot Mouretsu was 26 (kept thinking 13, lol)

        The horror tag just does not fit the bill for Another. I would say it is more on the lines of the thriller. It tries to induce horror, but until the big revelation comes around it is sort of…well I will let you continue watching for yourself. ^^

        That is about it. Other than this possibly heading the romantic direction it is going to have to be something interesting to bridge the gap until then.

        That was part of it for both Naoto and Aika (plus she (Aika) was featured in the limited edition artbook I have not named). Although, for Naoto, I referring to the VA Romi Paku, that mostly does male voices, yet also tomboy characters.

        • #10 by avvesione on January 24, 2012 - 7:21 PM

          Yeah, Mouretsu and Lagrange are both 2 seasons. Glad both are since they seem to be two of the better anime this season.

          That’s nice to hear Another gets more ‘horror’-ish later on. But the problem with that is, I’ve never really liked horror as a genre for anime. Guess we’ll find out.

          Ah, thanks for the clarification on Aika/Naoto. After looking over Romi Paku’s list, I realize (maybe not fully but moreso) of what you were talking about.

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